1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Mountain biking classes

    I'm really getting into mountain biking and have learned a good amount from this forum and watching the youtube videos listed in this section of the forum, but I think I might benefit more from working with an instructor who can oversee what I'm doing and hopefully give me some advice. I took a look at some classes available in the NY area, there wasn't much. I did find these offered by REI, what do you guys think?

    Description: Our instructors will teach you the proper techniques of shifting, braking, hill climbing and descent, body and pedal position, and navigating minor obstacles on the trail. Proper trail etiquette and safety will also be addressed. This is designed as an educational ride, not a guided tour; we want to teach you how to get more out of your mountain biking experience. Don't have a bike? We'll provide Novara mountain bikes at no extra charge. Please feel free to bring your own personal helmet but we will have helmets available for those that do not have a helmet or would prefer to use ours and riding apparel. This outing is recommended for those 14 and older; under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
    Skills you'll learn:
    Learn how to mount and dismount a mountain bike both in stationary and moving environments. Learn the proper techniques of shifting, braking, hill climbing/descending, and clearing minor obstacles. Trail etiquette (LNT) and safety emphasized. Find local areas where you can begin to build your skills as a mountain biker.

    http://www.rei.com/class/42/market/280


    Its just one day and only costs $65. I would be open to other suggestions if anyone else has any.

  2. #2
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    Assuming you already have your own bike....I would save yourself the money and just go out and ride. Thats why you bought the bike in the first place right? It sounds like a very beginner type class. Also, not everyone rides the same way and you have to find what works for you. I ride with a bunch of experienced riders and we all use different gears and shift at different times. There's no right or wrong as long as you know how to work it.

    What you can also do is join a riding group from a local LBS. You can actually learn a lot of different techniques by just riding with different people. A few years ago, when I was getting back into after a hiatus, I posted an ad on CL for riding buddies. Everyone from beginners to advanced riders contacted me and we met up and just rode. The majority of these guys will answer what you will ask and not ask for $65 from you.

    Fabien Barel has some great instructional videos on youtube as well, if you want to advance your techniques and style as he's one of my favorite riders.

  3. #3
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    I'm just curious about the classes. I'm aware that I could just ride but I could develop bad habits that would be difficult to correct later. The videos really help but it's hard to remember all the tips when I'm on the trail. Finding a riding buddy could help. Ut I'm going to rely on the fact that they know what they're doing. For the moment I'm just exploring options. Thanks for the video suggestion I will definitely check it out, thanks.

  4. #4
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    My wife took the class when she was starting out. I also took an abbreviated half-day they were doing for free for volunteer trail builders at an event they had.

    It is pretty much as described, and VERY basic. It gave my wife more confidence more than anything. I really didn't learn anything, as I had been riding for about 2 years and like you, had self-educated.

    If you have been riding and reading here, you are probably ready for an advanced class, which I think REI teaches also. The best thing I ever did was go on group rides. There are people more than happy to help out and critique you if you ask -- something a video or book can't do.

    However, if the $65 isn't a big deal, go for it. You will have fun and meet people, and will either learn something, or go away satisfied that you haven't learned any bad habits.

    Two books I recommend: "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills", and "Mountain Bike Like a Champion". The latter is more XC-oriented.

  5. #5
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    Save the money and get out and rouse the trails.see how you do and there is no shame in walking parts where you are unable to clear. Where in ny are you located as three are a lot of rides that are done through your lbs or local groups.

    Even if you went down to local trails,you will find many Sr easy to talk to and you canget scoops on how to ride.

  6. #6
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    I'm on long island. I tried hooking up with another rider from the forum and he didn't come through. I'll keep trying to meet up with people. I really like my LBS, they are a solid group of guys and a major reason why I bought my bike from them so I'll ask them also.

    I just figured the class was an easy and quick way to learn correct technique. I could shadow other riders on trails and pick up what they are doing but its not the same thing.

  7. #7
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    Well all depending on where in LI you live... I know that they have group rides coming out of the Cannondale store in Carle Place, there is also CLIMB that does rides around Bethpage and around the island... and there is a bike shop in Douglaston that arranges rides at Cunningham Park in Queens

  8. #8
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    If you think you'll benefit from the class then give it a try. I seen these classes before and they are quite basic but chances are you'll learn something, either from the instructor or by watching others make mistakes. Also it might be an opportunity to meet others in your area that are into MTB too.

  9. #9
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    True. I only looked at the classes because from experience whenever I learned things on my own I would always miss something simple and basic, or pick up a bad habit that becomes difficult to change later on. Taking a class seemed like the best and quickest way of getting all that taken care of rather than trying to find a group that I could learn from.

    If you guys could do it again, would you have gone with classes to learn basic fundamentals correctly or would you have gone with the self-taught route?

  10. #10
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    I took a look at CLIMB (Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists) and they seem like a solid group of people. They have a beginners class on the first Sat. of every month so I'll stop by and check it out next weekend.

  11. #11
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    My suggestion is to take the beginners class, then ride as much as you can for a good long while until you notice you are shifting and braking and flowing with the trail and clearing things easily that at first seemed difficult. Then, take an intermediate level class designed to get you comfortable getting your wheels off the ground a little and pushing your comfort level. If you can ride with a range of riders then that'll help too because you'll have to pick your game up and push yourself to hang with the more experienced in the group. I've taken a couple classes over the years and found them to be worth the money + it is a good opportunity to meet others that are also looking for others to ride with.

  12. #12
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    Mountain biking classes

    All of the bike clinics I've taken also included bike set up, which would be worth it. If you are taking the class bring your own bike.

    I've done several clinic with Bikeskills.com and whenever I can take my vacation I'll be doing at least one with Lee for sure. It's difficult to travel with bikes from SoCal to Colorado and take class.


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  13. #13
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    I took the basic skills class offered by our local IMBA chapter even though I'd been riding a while. I learned some stuff. However, it gave me a lot more confidence while riding. I later hired the instructor for some private coaching. We went over some stuff I was having trouble with. Again, it was mostly a confidence thing.

    One thing to remember is that the "rules" are just the combined experience of what has worked in the past. At one time there were no rules; riders rode when a situation came up they worked it out. If what they did worked, they'd keep doing it; if it didn't, they'd do something else next time.

  14. #14
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    Everything sounds good. I'm going to see how next week works out with the local club then go from there.


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  15. #15
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    I just took a similar class but it was offered free from one of our local groups. It was cool met some good people. The biggest thing I took away from it was 3 L's Loose, Low and Look.. Keep loose if you tense up nothing good comes from it. Get your upper body low lowering your center of gravity. Look continually scan your path, do not fixate on an object you will hit it, look through the corners physically turn your head to force your self to look through the corner.
    Like others have said if $65 isn't a bank breaker then do it. You never know until you attend if it was worth it to you or not.

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